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    The journey of a VTANG Airman toward U.S. citizenship

    VTANG Airman becomes U.S. citizen

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Victoria Greenia | U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Mahat Abdullahi, member of the 158th Fighter Wing,...... read more read more

    SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT, UNITED STATES

    06.07.2016

    Story by Staff Sgt. Victoria Greenia 

    158th Fighter Wing

    Airman 1st Class Mahat Abdullahi “fully committed” himself to the U.S. May 11 when he took the oath that made him a United States citizen, but said the day he really felt like he became an American was nearly two years earlier when he took a different oath –one to defend the Constitution of the United States.

    The 21-year-old services technician at the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) said that both oaths were stepping stones to his dream of becoming a policeman, and he deeply appreciates the strong camaraderie he has found with his Wingmen at the base.

    On the day he was sworn in he said he felt that kinship even stronger as Guard members showed up to witness the moment.

    “It shocked me and made me proud to be a Green Mountain Boy,” he said. “To see that people would drive an hour and a half to see me swear in means a lot. That’s why I said it’s a family.”

    Abdullahi was born in Somalia but his family moved to Kenya when he was a baby. There at a refugee camp he grew into a young man, garnering fond memories of playing soccer and hanging out with friends. When he was about 11 years old, however, his mother had the chance to take him and his five siblings to the United States and said yes.

    Although Abdullahi spoke no English, he was excited about the move. At the refugee camp, he said, you had what you needed to survive, but you wouldn’t have much opportunities. He believed the United States would be a place to create a very different life for himself.

    Like most kids do, he learned English and adapted to the new culture he and his family were thrust into. When older and in high school, a police officer spoke to his class. It was then he realized his life path would lead him to public service. He set his goal toward becoming a policeman, but there were still steps to take – his American citizenship being one.

    He later talked with a recruiter for the VTANG and felt that serving the country would only be a bonus toward his goal. Although not yet an American citizen, in May of 2014 he raised his hand and took the oath that made him a member of the United States military.

    At first his mother didn’t understand why he would make such a commitment to a place that wasn’t his homeland. Overtime, she has come to accept this part of her son, as Abdullahi has not only settled himself into Guard life, but has come to see Guard members as family members.

    “We go out every Saturday night of drill,” he said. “We get together, share a meal and have a good time. Knowing that every drill I am going to see these people outside of work and communicate with them about subjects other than work is really nice.”

    He added that the last few months have been rough for him but that the Airmen in the Services Flight have been right there in solidarity.

    “I wouldn’t have gone this far without the members of the services flight,” he said. “They are a very supportive and close-knit family.”

    Joining the Guard is a perfect of example of those opportunities he knew the U.S. would offer him when he came as a young child. He said more people should take advantage of joining the military because it can teach skills that will help them move into other professional sector. For Abdullahi, the VTANG is likely to be a career complementing his dream career of policing.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.07.2016
    Date Posted: 07.08.2016 16:08
    Story ID: 200603
    Location: SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT, US 

    Web Views: 18
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

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